When done correctly, the age-old technique of swaddling an
infant in a blanket can be soothing and promote sleep. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics states there are some risks to swaddling and the practice should be discontinued by 2 months of age when babies can roll over by themselves. Keep baby safe when swaddled with the following guidelines:
- Always place baby to sleep on his or her back
- Keep baby away from second-hand smoke
- Make sure baby is not overheated when swaddled
- Monitor baby to make sure he or she doesn’t roll over
- Keep toys, pillows and loose blankets out of crib
- Consider using a pacifier for sleep
And, make sure your baby’s legs are not pressed straight or are too tightly wrapped as this can lead to problems with the hips. Baby’s legs should be in a frog-like position and able to bend up and out at the hips.
If you plan to formula feed, pediatricians recommend
iron-fortified formula for the first year of life to prevent anemia. Formula made from cow’s milk is recommended over soy unless there is an allergy. Here are some bottle basics to keep in mind:
- Feed slowly on day one as baby’s belly is the size of a small marble and holds only about two teaspoonfuls
- Over the next several days, baby will take more, usually between 1 to 3 ounces each time
- Feed your baby every 3 or 4 hours during the day, and he may sleep a little longer at night
- Hold your baby close and cuddle during feeds
- Hold bottle so milk fills nipple completely and baby doesn’t swallow air
- To decrease the risk for choking and ear infections, keep baby in a semi-upright position when feeding
Formulas come in three versions: ready-to-feed, liquid concentrate and powder. It’s important to follow directions carefully when mixing concentrate or powder. For peace of mind when mixing, keep a clean source of purified baby water, such as Nursery, on hand.
Every woman's tolerance for pain differs. Some can breathe
through contractions and effectively use relaxation techniques right through delivery while others need pain medication early in labor. Understanding what medications are available can help make the process more manageable. Here are some of the most common pain medication options for labor:
- Analgesics – These lessen pain without loss of muscle movement. They usually do not stop pain completely.
- Regional anesthesia – This lessens or blocks pain below the waist and causes loss of feeling in the lower part of the body. This includes epidurals, spinals and combined epidural-spinal blocks.
- General anesthesia – This creates loss of consciousness and generally is used only during emergency situations.
- Local anesthesia – This provides relief in a small area and is usually used when an episiotomy is needed or when a repair is being done after delivery.
An epidural is most commonly used for pain control during labor and delivery by American women. Side effects can include a decrease in blood pressure, fever, headache and backache after delivery. Your doctor or midwife can help you decide which medication option is best for your labor.
Experienced breast-feeding mothers know, at times, it will
seem like baby will want to do nothing but feed, feed and feed, especially at night. This actually has a name – cluster feeding. It can happen within the first few days of life and then again at times during the first several months. Cluster feeds usually mean a baby is going through a growth spurt, and the extra feeding helps stimulate milk supply. Although it's normal for babies to cluster feed, it can be exhausting. Here are some tips for surviving cluster feeding:
- Drink plenty of water and eat nutritious meals.
- Get rest – even if it's only when baby sleeps.
- Use the time to read a good book or catch up on favorite movies.
- Enjoy the closeness with your baby.
- Remember, this stage won't last forever.
Don't be tempted to offer formula because a decrease in breast-feeding decreases milk supply. Nonetheless, if you are worried your milk production is not keeping up with your baby's demand, talk to your pediatrician.